Is it your first time traveling abroad, and you don’t know how to stay connected? Let us tell you that nowadays it is very easy to stay connected with the international internet, but so that you don’t get saturated and start to learn about all the options available, we have prepared in detail each of the alternatives you have to connect to the internet abroad, as well as their pros and cons. Let’s get started!
Mobile data abroad
When you search for international internet you will probably see international roaming in most of the results, this is a service usually offered by local cellular operators and is one of the most popular, although it is very expensive. This service not only allows you to connect to cellular data abroad but also to receive and make calls, as well as SMS.
But why do we say it is usually expensive? Depending on the operator you have and the country you go to (if your cellphone company has coverage in that country), prices vary a lot and most of the time they charge per MB and minute used, which raises the final value a lot, especially if you normally use a lot of megabytes per day, or you travel for business, and you must be constantly working on the internet or video calls.
On the other hand, apart from roaming, there are other much more affordable alternatives, such as SIM cards, eSIMs, free WiFi hotspots, and Pocket WiFi.
SIM card for international internet
One of the cheapest options currently available for connecting to the internet abroad is SIM cards. It’s pretty straightforward to buy one from most operators and are usually very good and easy to use. So if you get one before you leave your home country you will have cellular internet when you arrive at your new destination, and you won’t have to worry about ordering transport or queuing to buy one in the country you are visiting.
In this alternative, we always recommend the Holafly online shop cards, as their service is in Spanish, English, German, and French, their prices are affordable, they have coverage in more than 40 countries, and they have customer service 24 hours a day. With their SIM cards, you will enjoy a phone number and free incoming calls in most countries, you will not have to change your WhatsApp number, and you will have an excellent internet connection in each of your destinations.
eSIM for internet abroad
eSIMs are one of the fastest and easiest ways to connect to the internet abroad that you can find. For this alternative, it doesn’t matter where you are, you just need a compatible cellphone, as these are cards that work completely virtually.
If you want to buy one, you can do it in a couple of minutes through the Holafly online shop. All you have to do is to follow the next easy steps:
- Go to Holafly’s official website.
- Choose the eSIM of the destination you are going to.
- Complete the purchase and in a few minutes, they will send you a QR code to activate the card.
Also, in case you are uncertain if your smartphone is compatible with this technology, Holafly has 24/7 advice where they will help you verify if your cellphone is compatible and the best thing is that it is completely free.
International internet with your operator
Now that we’ve talked about SIM cards and eSIMs, let’s move on to international roaming. Here we will mention three of the most used operators in the US, UK, and Australia.
T-Mobile has different plans depending on the user’s needs. The company’s plans cover more than 210 countries. T-Mobile offers 50 GB at $60 USD, 100 GB at $70 USD, and unlimited data plans at $85 USD, each of these plans calculated on a monthly basis.
While these prices are a bit steep, the company offers rebates for each phone line you add to your purchase. Also, it is important to know that after a certain amount of data consumption, data speed may be reduced. However, the company offers users the opportunity to get an International Pass for high-speed data. However, this will cost you more.
Telstra is an Australian telecommunications company, which offers its users the possibility of international roaming while traveling. The company has different plans depending on the destination you are traveling to.
Firstly, there is the International Roaming Day Pass, which allows you to use your Telstra cellular phone service while abroad. However, this plan is only compatible with Telstra cellular services on a postpaid plan.
For countries in Oceania, specifically New Zealand, the company offers unlimited calls and messages, and 500 MB of data for $5 USD per day. On the other hand, for many other countries around the world, the price for the same plan of 500 MB of data plus unlimited calls and messages is $10 USD per day.
On the other hand, the company also allows you to use its data services with a pay-as-you-go plan, the price of which varies depending on the destination, but it is usually around $3 USD per MB.
O2 is a UK internet company, offering international internet to people who will be traveling abroad. Their O2 Travel Bolt On is the perfect way to stay connected if you are traveling outside the European area.
This package is priced at $5.64 USD per day in selected destinations outside Europe. And that gives you all the data you need, 120 minutes to make and receive calls and 120 texts to send each day within your travel destination and back to the UK. There is no maximum data usage limit, but speeds may vary.
On the other hand, if you are traveling within the European zone, your plan will work as it does in the UK. However, there are certain terms and conditions for data usage within the EU zone.
It is important to note that this company does not have an O2 Travel pay-as-you-go option available, it is only available on monthly plans, and if you are not a UK resident it may be more expensive than other options.
AT&T has a plan called AT&T International Day Pass, which allows you to use your internet plan in more than 210 destinations. With this plan, you can have unlimited high-speed data, make calls, and send and receive text messages. The price of this plan is $10 per day, which is expensive compared to other options, but it is really convenient.
However, if you prefer another option, AT&T also allows you to stay connected with pay-per-use data. With this plan, the price for data usage is $2.05 USD per MB.
Pocket Wi-Fi can be a good option, especially if you plan to be in one place for a long time and have a good budget, as this alternative is also often very expensive. Most providers not only charge you for the data plan, but also for the shipping, the rental, you have to buy loss insurance, and you have to pay the cost of return. In addition, these types of portable routers usually last for 3 to 8 hours, so if you are out for a long time, you may lose your connection at some point when the Pocket downloads.
For this type of service, we recommend that you check the terms and conditions of the provider you are purchasing it from, as the home or sales pages do not usually say everything about internet access with the Pocket and you could be in for some unpleasant surprises.
Public Wi-Fi is an option to connect to the internet completely free of charge in most countries. As the name suggests, these are Wi-Fi hotspots that you can find at the airport, your hotel, shopping centers, department stores, the metro, museums, and in general in tourist areas.
However, this is one of the most unstable and insecure alternatives, as anyone can access them. It is also very likely that most of the time you will find a spot that does not work well because it is too saturated by the number of people connected or even that it is useless because sometimes they place the Wi-Fi sign, but they never really enable it to the public.
If at any time you have to use this service we recommend you not to enter important data and much less enter bank accounts, as they are open networks and could steal your information.
All the alternatives for connecting to the internet abroad have their advantages and disadvantages, but among the ones we are most familiar with and use when roaming are Holafly’s SIM cards and eSIM cards. So far, we have had no problems with their service, and they respond quickly when we need advice or customer service, which is why they are currently our top recommendation.
Holafly is an online shop that very rarely changes their rates, they have excellent discounts and on their website, you can find absolutely all the information related to their cards and guides to check if your phone is compatible with them. They also show you in detail the countries with which they have coverage and the type of network they have. In general, they are very transparent with the service they provide.